Federal disaster unemployment assistance is now available to all New Yorkers have lost their job due to Superstorm Sandy and live or work in the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties. 

            This assistance will supplement New York’s existing unemployment insurance system and will expand eligibility to include individuals who might otherwise not be covered.  The United States Department of Labor has committed to providing additional assistance if needed. 

            Department of Labor staff has been deployed to hard-hit communities to help register impacted New Yorkers for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in person. 

            Anyone unemployed due to Superstorm Sandy is immediately eligible and can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases: 

  • If he/she was injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether the person is an       employee or self-employed;
  • If his/her workplace was damaged, or destroyed, or the person cannot work because of          the disaster;
  • If transportation to work is not available because of the storm;
  • If the employee cannot get to work because he/she must travel through the affected area,      which is impossible due to storm
  • If the individual planned to begin working, but cannot because of the storm.
  • If he/she derived most of income from areas affected by the disaster, and the business is       closed or inoperable because of the disaster.

            Examples of self-employment include small business owners, independent taxi drivers, vendors, independent commercial fisherman, and farmers. 

            To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those affected as set forth above should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state.  In order to receive benefits you must apply by December 3, 2012.